Dennis Higgins isn’t leaving the Kent City Council after all.
Council President Bill Boyce announced on Tuesday night that he will recommend at the Jan. 2 meeting that the council appoint Higgins to replace Mayor-elect Dana Ralph on the seven-member board.
Higgins has served eight years on the council. He didn’t seek re-election in November for family reasons. But when Ralph defeated Jim Berrios in the November election to replace Suzette Cooke as mayor, Ralph’s council seat became open for the remaining two years on her term.
Ralph and Boyce asked Higgins after the election if he wanted to come back.
“Earlier this year when faced with a decision of continuing on the council or not I had some health and family concerns that made it difficult to imagine continuing as a council member,” Higgins said. “Those circumstances that concerned me thankfully have greatly improved over the past several months.
“My family, my wife and my daughter and I have discussed it at great length. If my experience means that the new council and new mayor can reach full strength more quickly, I’d love to be of service.
“I’d be excited to be part of the new council and working with Mayor Ralph to continue creating the best city that we can.”
Toni Troutner and Satwinder Kaur will begin their first council terms at the Jan. 2 meeting. Troutner will take the previous position held by Higgins. Kaur replaces Berrios, whose term expires at the end of the year.
State law allows city councils many options to fill vacancies. In past vacancies in Kent, the council took applications and interviewed candidates before it appointed someone.
“Councilmember Higgins has done an outstanding job of serving on this council,” Boyce said. “I have received emails and calls from people wanting to know about the process. Once we reached out to him, it sounded like he was interesting in doing it, so I will make the recommendation to the council.”